Free Study Guide for The Assistant by Bernard Malamud|
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SYMBOLISM / MOTIFS / IMAGERY / METAPHORS / SYMBOLS
The long hours that Morris keeps in the grocery store, along with the fact that he never leaves the store unless he is going away in an ambulance, make the store seem like a prison. Frank is worried that, if he stays in the grocery, he too will become a prisoner. Helen once indicates to Frank that he owes her father nothing for making him a prisoner in the store.
Snow is used to create an image of purity. It is also used to create an image of absence of emotion.
Fire creates an image in the story, of cleansing and, also, one of passion.
A description of something that smells bad causes the reader to understand that there is unpleasantness, as after Frank abused Helen. He knew that he had offended Helen, so he believed that he smelled bad.
When Frank smells the cabbage and kerosene at the home of Carl, the Swedish painter, the reader is given a sense of the unpleasantness of the place.
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Johnson, Jane. "TheBestNotes on The Assistant".
. 09 May 2017